How to explain the fact that antlers have replaced skulls as this year's (okay, and maybe last year's) de rigeur restaurant-decor and accessory motif? Eric Wilson, the New York Times' resident fop, was confused—he thought maybe it had something to do with Disney's Beauty and the Beast ("One may recall that it was the oafish Gaston... who delivers the line in song, 'I use antlers in all of my decorating.' So does most of Brooklyn.") So he turned to some hipness experts for clarication. Their motley assortment of answers may surprise, confuse, and delight you! Here are some faves.

"It's an iconic indication of some sort of rural lifestyle, I guess. It's like, if a store has antlers on the walls, that somehow makes them legitimate." —a designer whose store once featured antlers on the wall.

"Antlers have a kind of maximalism that satisfies our urge for things to be overdesigned."—a trend forecaster.

"Where once the stag was a symbol of religious regeneration, it could be said that today it appeals to those who worship modern design."—a jewelry designer.

"People are tired of dealing with war and death. This is their protest."—a menswear designer who employs a stag skull motif as a logo.

"Um... Williamsburg finally got over wolves and unicorns?"—Emily

If There's A Buck In It Somewhere [NYT]